Molly Cram is a world traveler. The 26-year old Eugene, Ore., native has lived in Guatemala and Israel. But it was her four years attending the University of St. Andrews in Scotland that ignited a passion for tea and British culture, which she brought to Washington, where she is Moishe House’s mid-Atlantic regional manager. We caught up with her at Teaism in Dupont Circle last week to better understand this love for all things British.
Why do you love tea?
One of my favorite parts about British culture is that there’s this concept of a cup of tea being, like, the first step in any situation, usually when something’s gone wrong. It’s like the power of a good cup of tea. If you failed an exam or your boyfriend broke up with you or even something a little more serious, if you’re in someone’s home the first thing someone says is, “Let’s make a cuppa and then we’ll talk about it.”
In what way does tea bring comfort?
There’s some comfort in the act of physically making a cup of tea, right? You have to boil the water, steep the tea, put the cream and sugar in. You fix your cuppa and then you’re sitting down and you have this very comforting, warm beverage in front of you.
It also gives you this sort of time frame for the conversation, how long it takes to drink the cup of tea. And there’s just something about it that I think is really beautiful when I’ve used it when people come to me and are having trouble. I say, “Let’s make a cuppa and then we’ll sit down.” It gives me a little time to prep for a conversation.
Why else is tea special to you?
I have a great aunt that lives in Edinburgh. Every time I would visit her she would always make a cuppa, first thing. It’s a big piece of her hospitality.
What are your favorite teas?
Well, I always drink black tea in the morning. Now, I don’t believe in Lipton because I’m a total tea snob. My personal favorite is PG Tips, but there’s others that are also acceptable. And then I like Earl Grey in the afternoon. And then after 4 p.m. I try not to drink caffeine, so I’m a big mint tea drinker. But this place [Teaism] has my favorite chai in the city. This is a green tea though. This is branching out for me.
I thought cream and sugar were for coffee.
I think everybody takes their tea differently. I started drinking tea when I was in high school and I started adding it because it was too strong. So I think it’s just a personal preference. I’m open to people who take their tea differently.
What is the best circumstance in which to have tea?
It’s great if you can add some biscuit or scone or something. That’s like a real treat. I always drink tea in the morning, which I think it a nice time to sit, right? I mean that’s just a nice time to read and sit and it’s like 10 minutes to help me reset.
What else do you love about British culture?
I think the people are just really lovely, and I found it really easy to connect with people. I have a lot of British friends now. Of course there are cultural differences within Britain. The weather is a lot like Oregon, so I felt very at home. It’s cloudy almost every day, so I kind of like that.
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